Michigan's Railroad Crossings Along Interstate 94
In 1873, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad was completed between Lansing and Hillsdale, MI, passing through the town of Albion. The railroad was the clear cut state of the art transportation system of the day.
Just over eighty years later, the Interstate Highway System was quickly overtaking the railroad industry's dominance in long distance travel. As early as 1940, this change would mean that the LS&MS's successor, the New York Central Railroad, would begin abandonment of the line between Lansing and Springport, the village north of Albion on the line.
Railroads would have to relocate their roads above newly-constructed highways, and highways would have to build around existing railroad property.
For the most part in the US, this wasn't an issue, but this would come to a head in Albion, Michigan, where an at-grade crossing was built to accommodate the newly constructed I-94 in the late 1950's.
1959 picture of I-94 Railroad Crossing. Image: AlbionMich.com
|Here's where the crossing was located near Albion. You can still see the trace of the right of way today on satellite imagery. This image comes from 1986, long after the crossing was abandoned. (Satellite Image: Jackson County GIS)|
|Wayne State University 1961 Satellite Image via Building Washtenaw. This is I-94 just west of US-23. North is obviously up in this image.|
While such a crossing is unusual, it is far from without precedent. Someone actually made a map of limited access railroad crossings, some of which indicate that other interstate highways have had railroad crossings, but it is an incredibly rare occurrence, but I still wonder if these crossings were active when the road was actually signed as an interstate.
Thanks as always for reading!